Considering this was supposed to be a real quiet trade deadline season, things got interesting real quick early Wednesday morning, didn’t they?
Ever since the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a new ownership group for over $1 billion, new president of baseball operations Stan Kasten has said this team will not be afraid to spend money or make headline grabbing moves. They tried once to acquire what they viewed to be an impact bat with Carlos Lee, but Lee declined, electing to join the Miami Marlins instead.
Well, I think it’s safe to say the Dodgers have made their headline grabbing move after all.
Early Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired third baseman Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins for pitcher Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
There are three perspectives to look at in regards to this trade.
The first, and most obvious, comes from the Dodgers perspective. After getting off to a blazing start at the beginning of the season, the Dodgers have come back down to Earth in a big way since the second of Matt Kemp’s hamstring injuries. Including the injury to Dee Gordon, who was largely under-performing beforehand, the offense was sputtering. Outside of Kemp and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers didn’t have any lethal threats to be found in their line-up.
Furthermore, the left side of their infield has been made up of Jerry Hairston Jr., and Luis Cruz since the Gordon injury. That’s a small problem. Ramirez coming to LA will likely mean the team will keep him at third, but provides a gigantic offensive improvement in the middle of the line-up. Literally, manager Don Mattingly could put him batting lead-off as he has in the past, or bat him lower in the line-up. A 3-4-5 of Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier is going to give any pitching staff a heart attack.
Oh, and with the revelation of who the prospect is the Dodgers are giving up, maybe the biggest factor has reared its head. How in the world did the Dodgers make this deal and keep Zach Lee? The obvious answer is the Marlins aren’t giving the Dodgers a cent towards Hanley’s contract. The less obvious answer is, well, I don’t really know.
What this does mean for the Dodgers, most importantly, is they can still make another impact move for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. By keeping Lee, the Dodgers can aim high for a Matt Garza or Zack Greinke. Or, the team could finally finish a trade for Ryan Dempster, as Dempster has constantly stated that he wants to land in Hollywood as opposed to Atlanta. Taking on money is not a problem for the Dodgers. So, by doing that, they kept Lee. By keeping Lee, they’ve kept their biggest trade chip. By keeping their biggest trade chip, they are not done on the trade front. By not being done on the trade front…well, you get the picture.
Now, from the Marlins perspective. It appears the team is in full fire-sale mode. Again. I mean, wasn’t it just this off-season that the Marlins spent millions on the likes of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buerhle? Didn’t they just trade for Carlos Lee not more than two weeks ago in an attempt to fill their hole at first base? Didn’t they just open a brand new stadium that they’ve already been struggling to fill?
Officials around the league have said the Marlins are open and willing to trade anyone not named Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton. There are also rumors circulating that Josh Johnson will be hard to pry away from them, considering the team already dealt Anibal Sanchez. However, that’s no longer the point. This, by my count, is the third fire sale in Marlins history, be it Florida or Miami.
Not to mention, the Marlins just traded a player often viewed as the cornerstone of their franchise, and didn’t get bowled over in the return package for him. I get that the Marlins weren’t going to get the same level of player value in return when they convinced the Dodgers to take on Ramirez’s entire salary. But, the Marlins got Jacob Turner and two relatively decent prospects for Omar Infante, an over-achieving second baseman, and Anibal Sanchez, an above-average starting pitcher. Not that Nate Eovaldi is a terrible pitching prospect, but he doesn’t have anywhere near the same ceiling of a Zach Lee.
Its just a confusing message the Marlins front office is sending. Eight months ago, the team said finances weren’t a problem. They proved that by spending a lot of money on top free agent talent. Then, when the team gets off to a horrendous start and doesn’t appear to be showing signs of turning it around, they don’t just try to make moves to make the team better for the future, but the unload salary instead of trading for more valuable prospects. To me, that sounds a lot like the Marlins are trying to save money, not maintain some form of competitiveness in their division. The moves are polar opposites. They don’t go hand-in-hand. They don’t make sense.
Then, there’s the third perspective. I know what you’re thinking. How in the world could there be a third perspective to all of this? Well, its simple.
I called this. In fact, just about every spiteful Mets fan called this.
Jose Reyes left New York for more money in Miami. That…never sounded right and certainly never settled. Often, fans would joke with each other that the six-year contract Reyes signed in Miami was more like a two-year contract, because once the Marlins under-performed with all this talent, they’d trade him away.
Time to move that timeline up a few months! The Mets are playing absolutely god awful baseball. There have been little things to be excited about since the All-Star break. However, the Marlins falling into the same trap the franchise has practically invented, its heartwarming. I can’t believe its actually happening.
That’s not going to stop me from enjoying it.
All in all, the Dodgers won this deal, the Marlins sent mixed messages, and the Mets fans can finally sit back and laugh a little.
Check out other great articles at The Waiver Wire.
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